John Mara: Tom Coughlin will return

Updated: January 3, 2011, 3:29 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk |

LANDOVER, Md. -- New York Giants president and CEO John Mara didn't take long to decide the fate of Tom Coughlin.

In fact, not long after the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight year, a defiant Mara announced that his head coach was coming back for another season.

"I'm obviously disappointed we didn't make the playoffs but that doesn't mean you blow the whole thing up," Mara said after the Giants beat the Redskins 17-14 in the regular-season finale that proved meaningless after the Packers clinched a playoff berth with a 10-3 win over the Bears. "I think we have a good solid organization and there are some things we can improve on but he's still the guy that we want as our head coach."

Mara met with Coughlin during the middle of last week to express that ownership supported the head coach. Mara said he did not need to see what happened on Sunday to bring the 64-year-old head coach back.

The Giants (10-6) needed to beat the Redskins and have the Packers lose to the Bears in order to make the playoffs. Their slim playoff hopes were dashed with Green Bay's win.

Of course, the Giants let their playoff chances slip through their hands like one of their 42 maddening turnovers this season. They had the NFC East title within their grasp but blew a 31-10 lead over the Eagles in the last eight minutes of a 38-31 defeat to their division rival two weeks ago.

The Giants were trounced in Green Bay the following week, 45-17, with a playoff berth at stake.

Despite that, Mara felt players still believed in Coughlin and played for the head coach, who is only three seasons removed from one of the greatest Super Bowl victories of all time. Coughlin has had just one losing season (6-10 in 2004) with the Giants since taking over in 2004.

"I'm proud of how the players battled through the injuries," Mara said of a team that had to use six different starting combinations on the offensive line and had five wide receivers land on injured reserve. "I think that is a testament to the coach."

"In this society, everybody wants to fire the coach all the time," Mara said. "The Yankees get knocked off in the playoffs, everybody wants to fire the manager. Well, we don't do that here. He's going to be our coach. Because I believe in the guy, I believe in stability, you can't build anything if you are constantly making changes and firing people. That is not our culture and it is just not what we believe in. We know this guy is a good coach and we want him to lead us into next season."

With head coaches like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and John Fox among those potentially looking for new jobs, the Giants would have been an attractive destination for a high-profile coach had they decided to make a change.

But Mara said he and chairman Steve Tisch wanted Coughlin back. Coughlin has one year remaining on his contract and the Giants will have to figure out whether they want to extend his contract and for how long.

"That is a discussion for a later date," said Mara, who could always add on another year to Coughlin's deal.

Coughlin said he understood why the team waited until the season was over to announce that he was returning.

"I'm very, very appreciative for the support of the Mara and Tisch family and Mr. Mara coming out at this point in time and making that very clear to everyone is greatly appreciated by me and my family and hopefully our team," Coughlin said. "Again, I was appreciative that he did come by [last week to talk]. It did mean a lot because it was a big game for us."

Last year, Mara was fuming after the Giants opened the season 5-0 only to finish 8-8. The Giants may still make some changes this offseason to the coaching staff and player personnel but the head coach is staying.

"It really came down to one bad half of a quarter for us but I don't think when that happens that means you have to blow the whole thing up," Mara said. "Stability is something we strive for here and I think the only time you make a change is if it appears like the players are not responding to the head coach and that is just not the case."

"I didn't feel like I needed to [talk to any players] this year," Mara added. "There have been times where I have done that in the past but just watching their body language in practice and in the locker room, I knew that they wanted him back."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for Follow him on Twitter.

Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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